Flo-Joe for Cambridge English Exams

Cambridge English: Advanced

Check out students' answers to Flo-Joe's CAE Writing tasks with a teacher's feedback

Writing Class: Formal Letter

Task Type: Letter to an Editor

You are reading your favourite newspaper and you come across a letter which attacks the education system in your country (or a country that you know well):

...What a pity our school system is so out-of- date. I would suggest that some major educational reforms are needed in this new century!

Yours sincerely
Prof Collins

To give YOUR view contact the editor by writing to...

Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper giving your response to Prof. Collins' letter (220-260 words)

Makeover: Sabrina

Read Sabrina's answer to this question below. Try correcting the piece of writing yourself first: use the marking codes to think about what might be wrong (or what's good) about the piece of work. Then when you're ready, click the green buttons in the text for our feedback.

Dear Sir,

I am writing this letter in response to Prof Collins' letter, published on WW your newspaper one week ago. In his letter, Prof. Collins expressed his concern about our school system, defined by him as "out-of-date", and suggesting, at the same time, the urgent need for necessary educational reform. Gd I wish to take this opportunity to express my personal opinion, which is only partly agree WF with Prof. Collins' view. According to Prof. Collins, the process of school modernization should pass through three main features: the need for better teachers, practical skills learning and more investment in school equipment.

As for the first point, it seems to me that the real problem is not the need for "better" teachers but, on the contrary, the need for a new way of teaching. In my opinion, what is really "out-of-date" is the traditional methodological approach, which is still too much linked to mnemonic and abstract learning and too little concerned about real social contest. WW

Strictly WW connected to this problem is the need for the students to achieve professional competence. This means that the school reform should consider the importance to create and support WF professional training courses, stages and temporary direct work experience in a real working contest WW As for the third point, I completely agree with Prof.Collins' view about the need for major investiment in school equipment. They should mainly consist in WW the purchase of computers, of techincal equipment in order to create modern scientific and linguistic laboratories as well as new and updated libraries.

I wish to close my letter with a doubt which might require further reflections on this delicate subject. Gd My personal doubt is about the risk of giving birth to a school system too little sensitive towards students' personalities and too little concerned about their emotive sphereWW

Yours faithfully,



I really liked the way that you tackled this question. The organisation of the letter is appropriate and the register is suitably formal. You complete the task in full, with sound arguments in favour or against the professor's viewpoint.
Your language shows flair (e.g. 'this delicate subject') and you are not afraid to take risks with your choice of vocabulary. I have been a little 'picky' with some of your word choices, but this is because your level is very good and I know you will not mind! There are a couple of prepositions that are incorrectly used - this is a very tricky area even for advanced students - but all in all, this is a nice answer.

Marking Code

/\ Word(s) missing

- Omit word

C Capitalization

Gd Good

O Organisation

P Punctuation

PE Poorly expressed

R Register/Formality

SS Sentence Structure

S Spelling

T Tip (Not wrong but a suggestion)

WF Wrong form

WO Word order

WT Wrong tense

WW Wrong word